Continuing our countdown of the top 100 players in the majors, we hit numbers 90 through 81 today. You can find the explanation and origin of our list here. As a quick refresher, here are 100-91:
T100 – Jordan Zimmermann – SP -WAS
T100 – Michael Bourn – CF – ATL
T98 – Gio Gonzalez – SP – WAS
T98 – Nick Swisher – RF – NYY
97 – Nelson Cruz – RF – TEX
96 – B.J. Upton – CF – TBR
95 – Jayson Werth – OF – WAS
94 – Miguel Montero – C – ARI
93 – Lance Berkman – 1B/RF – STL
92 – Ubaldo Jimenez – SP – CLE
91 – Yunel Escobar – SS – TOR
90 – Corey Hart – RF – MIL – MLB (NR)
Lee (NR) – While his speed is no longer an asset, Hart’s power has stabilized at a high level. If he can keep his plate discipline around average, he will be a very good hitter and good player overall.
Alex (79) – With Prince Fielder gone, Hart will have to be a much bigger offensive contributor. He’s always had power, and this year that trend is continuing. He’s walking 4% more than his career average, and his OBP is 50 points higher than his career average. If the Brewers want to contend Hart will have to successfully complete his role.
89 – Josh Beckett – SP – BOS – MLB (57)
Lee (94) – Home runs and injuries have been the two biggest detractors of Beckett’s career. An early drop in velocity this year looks to be leading towards another possible year-long struggle.
Alex (85) – Beckett is off to a slow start so far this season. His FIP is 5.41 and he’s striking out 7% less batters. If he can limit the amount of home runs that he gives up and increase his strikeouts, he should be just fine.
88 – Carlos Beltran – RF – STL – MLB (82)
Lee (NR) – Injuries kept Beltran off my list, though his rates are definitely good enough to be included. While the speed and defense aren’t elite anymore, his great plate discipline and power from both sides of the plate make him a feared hitter.
Alex (76) – Beltran is off to another good start, so far in 17 games he has 144 wRC+, and his power isn’t showing any signs of decline. With Albert Pujols on the Angels, the Cardinals will need Beltran to stay healthy all season and be a positive offensive contributor.
T86 – John Danks – SP – CWS – MLB (NR)
Lee (91) – Danks has been able to put up major league average numbers in the American League in a hitter-friendly park, making him a solid pitcher.
Alex (81) – Danks is off to a slow start this season, he’s giving up more home runs per nine, and has seen an increase in the amount of walks per nine innings. He just got a nice new contract this off-season, and it’s still early, so he still has time to get back to his career averages.
T86 – David Wright – 3B – NYM – MLB (NR)
Lee (81) – While he is nowhere near his 2005-08 form, Wright is still a very good hitter at a semi-premium defensive position. His defensive ratings have gone down dramatically, plus his Ks have risen and power is less consistent.
Alex (91) – So far Wright has seen a nice increase in his BB% and decrease of his K%, resulting in an OBP of .467. He’s on pace to have a much better year than last year, already at half of last year’s total WAR.
85 – Gavin Floyd – SP – CWS – MLB (NR)
Lee (84) – Floyd is essentially a right-handed version of Danks. The last three years, he has underperformed his FIP, mostly due to a low strand rate.
Alex (88) – Floyd is off to a slow start so far, his FIP is 4.93, but his 4.22 xFIP tells us there are better things to come. He is also struggling a little with his walks early on, but as the season goes on, he should limit that number.
84 – Alexei Ramirez – SS – CWS – MLB (NR)
Lee (85) – Thought to be an Alfonso Soriano type player, Ramirez has not shown the power since his rookie year, but his defense has developed greatly, making him one of the best shortstops in the game.
Alex (87) – Ramirez is one of the better shortstops in baseball, but this year he’s off to a slow start. He’s showing no signs of power, his ISO is at .063, and while a lot of his value comes defensively, the White Sox will take all the offense that they can get.
83 – Buster Posey – C – SFG – MLB (60)
Lee (82) – With only about a full year under his belt, Posey looks to be a well-rounded hitter at the most premium position. His only below-average skills look to be walk rate and speed.
Alex (89) – After winning the 2010 N.L. ROY, Posey was on his way to another fine season until he broke his leg. So far this season, he looks fully healthy and ready to help the Giants be competitive in the N.L. West.
82 – Matt Garza – SP – CHC – MLB (NR)
Lee (83) – After surviving on the Rays’ defense the previous three years, Garza turned the corner in Chicago last year, striking out over 23% of hitters and inducing more groundballs, lowering his FIP to under 3.00.
Alex (86) – Garza is coming off a career year where he posted 5 WAR, and so far he’s off to a solid start this season. The Chicago Cubs are rebuilding and in need of an ace. If Garza repeats last season, he could take that title, if he hasn’t already.
81 – Anibal Sanchez – SP – MIA – MLB (NR)
Lee (90) – After fighting through injuries early in his career, Sanchez found his control in ’10 and whiffs last year, but has been overlooked due to having an ERA higher than his FIP. He has continued the great K/BB rate so far this year, which could lead to some much-deserved exposure.
Alex (72) – Sanchez is off to another good start, he has a great 3.08 FIP and his strikeout and walk rates are much better than his career average. The Miami Marlins invested a lot this past off-season, and if they wish to contend they will need Anibal Sanchez to have a big year.
This segment features a lot of players unrated by the MLB Network voters, especially in the Chicago group. #80-71 are up next, and there is some elite talent beginning to filter on the list.